WHAT IS THE GAME?
A TEAM OF MUTANTS
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden seamlessly combines exploration, stealth and world-building with turn-based tactical combat gameplay. You can set up ambushes and plan out your encounters in real-time before
We’re calling it a tactical adventure game because of this unique combination of gameplay mechanics.
You control a team of Stalkers, hunter/gatherers who venture explore the irradiated wasteland to collect scrap metal that can be used back at the Ark, a safe haven among the post-apocalyptic madness. Stalkers make do with the weapons and equipment they can find when battling Ghouls. These festering monsters can be found all throughout the Zone, just waiting to ambush anyone caught unawares. Keep in mind that there are more things lurking out in the Zone than just Ghouls.
You explore and journey through the Zone in real-time with your party of three Stalkers. As you venture forth you can, and should, explore the surrounding area to find scrap, weapon parts and ancient artifacts. All of these can be taken back to the Ark to upgrade your equipment, unlock new team skills and buy upgrades.
Outside of the Ark you need to constantly be on alert to avoid being ambushed by Ghouls and whatever other foul creatures that lurk in the wasteland. When you encounter an enemy out in the wild, a ring around them will tell you their field of vision. Step inside that ring and combat will start, so switch off your flashlight and get ready for some sneaking.
Since half of The Bearded Ladies is made up of former Hitman developers it made sense to combine tactical combat with real-time stealth mechanics. The main goal of the project was to experiment with the tactical genre and push it in a new direction by taking the initial part of any tactical scenario – the setup and planning – and moving it into real-time gameplay mechanics to speed up the loop. As your characters sneak around you will hear incidental dialogue from NPCs and the party will react to things in the environment.
Switching off your party’s flashlight will put you into stealth mode. Your characters will crouch down and be less visible, but can still be detected by Ghouls and other enemies if they’re not careful. At this point your best bet is to split your party up and set up a sneak attack.
Sneak attacks and ambushes are crucial throughout Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden. Ambushes allow you to isolate enemies and kill them away from their companions, hopefully without raising an alarm in the process. The difficulty level is quite high, even on the Normal setting, and your characters aren’t supersoldiers. They can take a bit of a beating, sure, but if you get swarmed, they will die quickly. You should observe your enemies’ patrol routes and habits as you sneak around so you can set up the perfect ambush.
Splitting up your party will let you move each member individually, switching between them as you go. You can maneuver them into position and hide them from danger. A character who’s hiding won’t be discovered by an enemy, even if they’re standing in their field of vision. You can move your characters around as much as you want to set up that perfect sneak attack. Once they’re in position you hit a button and go into the tactical combat grid.
Several of your characters will come equipped with silent weapons, like Selma’s pistol or Dux’ crossbow. Weapons like these are crucial to your survival in the Zone as they can take out enemies without giving away your position. If an enemy dies too close to one of their friends the rest of the group will be alerted to your position and rush towards you. It’s therefore highly recommended to isolate enemies and pick them off when they’re alone, far away from their companions. The benefits of this is silently thinning out groups of enemies, taking them down one by one before you have to make noise and face several at once.
Once combat begins you’ll seamlessly switch over to a third person tactical grid. You direct your team of mutants on a grid, placing them behind cover and moving them into flanking positions. Each action consumes a certain amount of points, ending your turn when all action points are spent. Certain things, like firing your gun, will automatically end the turn then and there.
It’s a good idea to always be on the move and be mindful of eventual blind spots you hadn’t considered. Ghouls come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some will run up to claw your mutants to death, while others prefer throwing Molotov cocktails or shooting you from afar with high-powered rifles. You should equip your characters with an equally varied assortment of weapons and skills to counter whatever threats you might meet. varied assortment of weapons and skills to counter whatever threats you might meet.
And remember: you can always retreat and try to fight another day, if need be.
As you play your characters will level up and earn points you can spend on mutations, special active and passive skills that can give them an edge in combat. Bormin’s Stoneskin ability makes him an excellent tanker, letting him rush into the fray and deal devastating damage with his trusty shotgun. Dux, who tends to hang back and snipe at enemies, can unlock crippling strikes and range bonuses as mutations.
You have several active skills and passive bonuses and different combinations of mutations can be equipped to reflect how you like to play. Will you go for Bormin’s self-healing abilities, or up his defensive bonuses to make him more resistant? Maybe add in the ability to release noxious gasses when he’s attacked, to passively take down an enemy who gets a little too close? It’s up to you.
Team members and mutations can be switched around on the fly whenever you’re out of combat, letting you pick your ideal team depending on the situation. Dux is great at disabling robotic enemies, for example, but that skill won’t do much against an organic enemy, so you should swap that ability out for something that packs a punch.